Archive for the ‘Bedfordshire Chess’ Category

Or ‘we don’t forget what was’ in English.

More pics and details about the revival of Luton chess club to follow…and yes it is only a matter of time before I return to the helm and run the club myself (marooned abroad so about a decade)…assuming it hasn’t folded by then of course.

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The University of Bedfordshire/Luton chess club recently attended the freshers fair in the student union at the university main campus in a bid to attract new members. There are pictures below where lifelong club members put their wits against the freshers!

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Regarding Luton Chess club, talks are taking place with the student union in The University of Bedfordshire main campus, which is where the club will be based. Plans are being put together and the local media will be contacted once things are in place. It is beginning to look like the hangover from COVID is leaving now and the club will be open for business again soon, hopefully with a team in the Bedfordshire League. Now that the club is affiliated to The University of Bedfordshire, this offers a level of security and stability the club hasn’t had in a long time. And with a population of over 200,000 there should be a chess club in town. We really ought to have a secure playing venue and at least 30 members…let us hope for brighter days or put differently a return to normality now that there’s no pandemic interfering with matters. Sadly I cannot be there to oversee operations and tidy things up but the club is in good hands, and so we are hopeful that Luton will have its own chess club again.

I shall post further details in due course.

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‘The moon is red and bleeding, the sun is burned and black.’

I can’t begin to tell you how colourful and oftentimes chaotic my life has become, having been abroad for 22 years now, and visited some 36 countries along the way (many of which I worked in more than once). But the day when it is time to head home will one day come.

‘Time it waits for no man my future it is revealed. Time it waits for no man my fate is sealed.’

When that does happen, when I am a retiree of sorts, I will reach my rightful place. It’s only a matter of time before I become the Secretary of Luton Chess Club and also President of the Bedfordshire Chess Association.

If I cancel tomorrow the undead will thank me today.’

Administrative roles and obligations have been in place for the online versions of our club for some time now, the history of our country has been in my hands alone for many years, moreover in a bid to revive the club, much advertising will take place here. Moves are being played.

‘The demon in your mind will rape you in your bed at night.’

Lyrical encores aside, I am unflustered by what lies ahead and do not lie awake at night, erm…well singing Iron Maiden songs. The diagnosis is, I will live forever and am not ‘too evil’ to be the club secretary (when that day comes). More honest chaps might ask, since I won’t die young, can’t I run the thing from abroad…and perhaps I can.

Evil updates soon to follow…oh and lastly, do enjoy the song below (it has a chess reference).

Mark. J. McCready

11.15am, June 30th.

Room 7113, Intown Holiday Hotel,

Pattaya Saisong Soi 11


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In due course I will post information about Luton Chess Club. Sadly, it has fallen into disarray since the lockdown, with it remaining closed for long periods and then unable to field a team in the Bedfordshire Chess League, due mainly, to a lack of interest.

There are plans afoot to revive matters and soon I shall spell out the details. For a town its size, and university backing, Luton Chess Club should be in much better shape than what it is. Let us hope for a move in the right direction before the summer is out.

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“It is nobler to declare oneself wrong than to insist on being right –especially when one is right.”
― Nietzsche, Friedrich

On the morning of Saturday September 3rd 1988, I sat reading Simon Webb’s Chess for Tigers, in the spare room of my very first home, just up the road from where I am now. And although it may well be a false antitheses, his idea of playing the man/playing the board has stuck throughout the years…

My entry into the national league ended in victory, but a fortuitous one at that for I know not to play on emotions, but that I did…I won for the team but it was nothing to be proud of…

“The final reward of the dead – to die no more”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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A Harrowing Tale

The 1956 grading list has been republished, unfortunately not a single player from Bedfordshire is on there. Why this is so is unclear since D. V. Mardle of Luton won most of his tournaments between 1955-1963 and was clearly one of the strongest players in the country at the time. The list is linked below.

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Either I’ve gone up in the world by being given administrative control over my home town club so that I can organize tournaments online or I’ve gone down in the world by giving into a request to resume the role of club tournament organizer, a role I relinquished many moons ago…

Whatever the case may be, the first in a series of tournaments went down well. We had 10 participants and some old friends were there. I managed to come joint first with 4/5 but board count put me in 4th overall as my loss came earlier than the losses by those also joint first.

Overall I am quite happy with my performance and have included two games, one constituting a loss where I missed a clear win, and the other showing my cut-throat style in full force against an old friend and playing partner.

I had a better move than Qd8.
Swashbuckling stuff.

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In the following link, you can find Bedfordshire’s champions since 1980.

Of all that I played, I’ve beaten 2, drawn with 2 but lost to 3 although one of them conceded I had completely outplayed him, which I did. I don’t recall how I lost the game, it may have been on time. Of the two I beat, one was titled and rated around 217 and the other was over 200 also but only just, 203 I think but may well be wrong there. He played an obscure line against my French defence with an early b3, possibly 2. b3, which as anyone will tell you, doesn’t do very much at all. It was an easy win. I mated him within 30 moves. Perhaps its so had I not given up chess and put a solid 10 year shift in I may have became on me of them but would it be worth it? The moments of love and joy chess brings are ephemeral, is there really a pay off for being a bit better or a lot better for all those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years invested -I don’t think so.

I’m prepared to admit, in the many qualifying rounds played in a Winter’s eve, I got more than one sound beating from the very strongest in the county, and infrequently, walked away from the board with a hard fought victory and a wry smile on my face.

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I did play for my county. It was on-line. As anticipated I was very tired and played poorly. I started with some verve but finally lost on time around 3am, by which time being two pawns down the position was close to lost, if not already lost with correct technique.

There is such a marked difference between playing on-line and playing over the board. Irrespective of whether you are playing for a team in a match or not, play on-line is the play of a lone-gun. It is not the play of a team member. You don’t feel the pecking order in play, the hierarchical nature of conversation, and neither team order nor importance of match result. It’s just you alone in your room and the screen you stare at. I couldn’t really differentiate between a casual game on-line and a formal county match because they are both depersonalized experiences which involve no human interaction.

The human element of chess is missing with play on-line and although it felt like an honour to represent my county once more, that per se was a pyrrhic victory of sorts, my pride somehow unquantifiable.

If on-line chess is a drug, I admit I’m an addict for it never is ‘just one fix’, as that ministerial number goes. But as another, perhaps more pertinent, goes ‘the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse but I know I’ll see your face again’, and so I expect yet more poor on-line adventures or should I say more on-line misadventures from a woeful McCready… .


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